Today Microsoft hosted a Q&A with the developers of Microsoft Flight Simulator, offering a lot of details about future plans.
We hear from head of Microsoft Flight Sim Jorg Neuman, Asobo CEO Sebastian Wlock, and executive producer Martial Bossard.
First of all we get to see the upcoming development roadmap in the gallery below.
Updates will now have a monthly cadence. On December 22 we’ll get Sim Update 1, on January 26 we’ll get World Update 2 that will feature the United Kingdom, and on February 23 there will be Sim Update 3.
Interspersed between these updates there will be “bigger features and nice surprises” that the developers aren’t ready to announce yet because they take time.
Interestingly, we hear that helicopters are planned for 2022.
Below you can read more information that was provided during the Q&A.
- There will be a second and a third world updates dedicated to the United States at some point.
- Updates to water masks can come either within updates or simply as data being streamed via data in real-time. More should come within the next few days.
- The developers are working on improving night lightning based on population density and it should come in the next update (December).
- A large part of the team is working on optimization with a big focus on memory. Devs are also tweaking the cost of tree rendering for the GPU.
- Sim Update 2 will include virtual reality support for everyone for all devices. It will also focus on improving the airliner experience (including two tutorials for the Airbus A320 Neo). A list of these improvements will come at a later date.
- The AI copilot still has some bugs affecting it, and the team is currently working on it.
- As mentioned above, World Update 3 in January will focus on improving the UK. The new DEM (Digital Elevation Maps) for England, Wales, and Scotland are between 50 cm and 2 m resolution and there will be a completely new set of aerials. The devs are also trying to include Ireland but they made no promises on this for now.
- The new handmade Airports in the world update will be Manchester Barton (EGCB), Liverpool John Lennon (EGGP), Land’s End (EGHC), Barra (EGPR), and Out Skerries (EG78). There will be 50-60 new points of interest, new landing challenges, new discovery flights, and new procedural buildings (the devs are trying to make churches and cathedrals).
- Sim Update 3 in February will focus mostly on approaches and ATC. There will be improvements to ATC phraseology. Variation depending on regions are being considered for implementation after the update. Work is also being done on the sound quality with machine learning, but this will likely come in the second half of 2021.
- Improvement to ATIS will also come in Sim Update 3.
- Charts are coming a bit later, likely in Sim Update 4.
- Live traffic being more sparse than what reported by FlightAware is being investigated. The developers know the reasons and are trying to work on how to augment missing data so that missing flights will appear in the sim.
- Wloch advised not to set the rolling cache under 8-10 BG. He uses 32 on his own system.
- Replays are being worked on and will come at a later date.
- The scenery gateway system is something the developers want to do but don’t have a date for it just yet.
- Some “nice surprises” are coming our way before Christmas.
If you want to learn more about Microsoft Flight Simulator, you can check out our review that will tell you everything you need to know about Asobo Studio’s game.
You can also check out our guide wiki that includes more information to help you get started in the game.